Friday, September 29, 2023

Can't Anyone at the Times Count?

Found in The NY Times this morning:

When she won a sixth term in 2018, she was already the oldest member of the Senate, having outlasted four presidencies and seen the beginning of a fifth, that of Joe Biden.

The 2018 election was for Feinstein's fifth complete term; her first was a stub in a special election to replace Pete Wilson, who had been elected governor. But in 2018, she also had not outlasted four presidencies because the 45th president was still in office and somehow managed to serve a full term.

The Times tried to correct the above and failed:

When she won a sixth term in 2018, she was already the oldest member of the Senate, having outlasted four presidencies. She went on to see the beginning of a fifth, that of Joe Biden.

Again, in 2018, she had outlasted three presidencies, and went on to outlast four and see the first two years of Joe Biden's term. 

Updated: The Times also somehow thinks she had shingles last year. Sorry! It was this year!

Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February 2022, some of which she had not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

I am happy to admit, by the way, that I was one of the people calling for her resignation; I phone her local office multiple times to ask her to resign. No, Rep. Pelosi, it's not sexist to want the people of California to be represented in the Senate by someone who is mentally competent. It is extremely sad that such an important and effective politician as Dianne Feinstein (and her supporters) couldn't see this.


Friday Photo

Pile of Pomelos
Oakland, CA
September, 2023


Thursday, September 28, 2023

Belated Museum Mondays

Purse in sterling silver inspired by tree bark
Michele Oka Doner
Victoria & Albert Museum
November, 2019


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Donald Palumbo Retiring From the Met

 From the Met; needless to say, this is a plum job that has had great conductors, including Palumbo and David Stivender.

Met Chorus Master Donald Palumbo

to step down after almost 20 years



New York, NY (September 18, 2023)— Met Chorus Master Donald Palumbo announced his decision to step down from the full-time role that he has held for the past 17 years at the end of the 2023–24 season in June. Widely regarded as opera’s leading chorus master, Maestro Palumbo elevated the Met Chorus to new heights during his tenure and was responsible for the chorus’s preparation and performance in nearly 25 productions each season. In 2021, the Met Chorus was awarded Best Chorus in the World at the International Opera Awards.


In future seasons, Palumbo will continue to work with the Met on select operas while pursuing his other interests as a teacher at the Juilliard School and Santa Fe Opera, and on other special projects. A search for a new full-time Met chorus master will take place over the coming season.


“I must express my admiration and thanks to everyone I have worked with at the Metropolitan Opera over the past 17 years. The administrative and musical staff, the singers, the Met Orchestra under its brilliant Music Director Yannick, and the crew of this theater are without equal. I thank Peter Gelb for his unwavering support,” said Palumbo. “The Met Chorus has provided the greatest joy for me as they tirelessly rehearsed and performed to achieve the acclaim they so justly deserve. I look forward to continuing to work with the next generation of singers.”


“When I became General Manager in 2006, one of my first artistic missions was to secure the services of Donald Palumbo as the Met’s Chorus Master since he was widely considered to be the very best,” said Peter Gelb. “His work at the Met over the past 17 years more than lived up to our expectations. Under his leadership, the Met Chorus now has no equal.”


“Donald Palumbo is a true legend in the opera world and in the chorus world. Having started as an opera chorus conductor myself, I have always looked to Donald as an inspiration. Our collaborations in my years as guest conductor and since becoming Music Director have been some of the greatest joys of my life,” said Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director. “Donald will forever leave his mark on the unparalleled artistry of the Metropolitan Opera. Under his leadership, the chorus has never sounded better.”


Donald Palumbo was born in Rochester, New York, and received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. He launched his career at the Dallas Opera in the 1980s, serving as the assistant to Roberto Benaglio, a renowned chorus master of La Scala. He joined the Met in 2006, following a 16-year tenure as chorus master at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Palumbo was also the music director of the Chorus pro Musica of Boston and served as chorus master of the Canadian Opera Company, Dallas Opera, Banff School for the Arts Summer Opera Program, Opera Company of Boston, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In Europe, he held the position of chorus master at the Opéra de Lyon, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Teatro Massimo in Palermo. From 1999 to 2001, he was the chorus director of the Salzburg Festival, the first American to hold that position. Since 2014, Palumbo has been a vocal coach for the apprentices of the Santa Fe Opera and has worked with the young artists at the Glimmerglass Festival and students at the University of Toronto. In September 2016, he joined the faculty of the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at the Juilliard School. In June 2022, he prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for a concert performance of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti. He returned to Chicago in June 2023, joining Maestro Muti for performances of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

More on San Francisco Symphony Personnel

Davies Symphony Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

SFCV has a new report, from me, about changes at SFS. There's good news about hiring, and bad news about happenings in the horn section. Make sure to read Janos Gereben's reports on the possible renovation of Davies and on contract negotiations.


Harding Out, Chan In

Elim Chan
(Photo not credited in SFS press release)

Daniel Harding has withdrawn from his scheduled San Francisco Symphony appearance next month; he will be conducting the Cleveland Orchestra on their tour of Israel. Franz Welser-Möst has withdrawn from that tour for medical reasons.

Elim Chan, chief conductor of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, will conduct these concerts, retaining Holst's The Planets and substituting Britten's Les Illuminations (with tenor Andrew Staples) for Ralph Vaughn Williams's On Wenlock Edge.

The dates are October 26-28, 2023.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Breaking: SFS Planning Major Davies Renovations

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Um, wow: San Francisco Symphony is in the early stages of planning major, major renovations to Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. Here are the relevant links:
In brief, they're thinking of the following:
  • Expanding into Lake Louise, aka the parking lot, by building a recital hall there.
  • Connecting it to the existing building.
  • Renovating the existing concert hall to reduce the number of seats to about 2100.
The SFS web site item says that they're in the very early stages, but they've got collaborative partners lined up already, in the form of  Mark Cavagnero Associates (a firm that did the renovations of the Veterans Building for SFO, work at the SFCM campus, and lots more) and FRANK GEHRY, whom I hope needs no introduction.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
Frank Gehry, architect
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

I made some jokes when Esa-Pekka Salonen was hired about whether we could expect a Frank Gehry concert hall to follow. Prescience?? I mean, this would be awesome in some ways: Davies has had acoustical problems throughout its history, even with the big renovation funded by Gordon Getty, and Lake Louise is a major waste of valuable real estate.

On the other hand, does Civic Center need yet another recital hall? I say this knowing absolutely nothing about what the theoretical new hall would be like. But the larger Civic Center area already has Herbst Theater (renovated a few years ago), the Taube Theater, the Veterans Building Green Room, SF Jazz, three halls in the old bulding at SFCM and two in the new, St. Mark's, and Old First. That's eleven small concert halls within three-quarters of a mile of each other, and I'm not even counting Zellerbach A, the space in Davies used for SFSoundBox, or the Nourse Theater, which SF Performances used while Herbst was under construction.

Can SFS sell tickets for programs in this potential new hall?? Well, one might check attendance numbers for SFS chamber music concerts at Davies and at the Legion of Honor, not that anyone outside SFS has access to those figures.

As exciting as this possibility is, it would be extremely expensive! Davies opened in 1980 and cost $28 million to build. A renovation and expansion could be expected to cost in the neighborhood of $250 to $500 million, based on what it cost the NY Phil/Lincoln Center for a gut renovation of its even more problematic concert hall (which is now on its third name!).

Where would SFS play when Davies was being renovated? Across the street in its old home at the War Memorial Opera House? Across the bay in the dreadful Zellerbach concert hall? Here and there, with runouts to the Paramount Theater (Oakland), California Theater (San Jose), Bing (Stanford), Mondavi (Davis), and points in between?

And where would the money come from? Well, perhaps this is part of the reason that the Board is being intransigent about paying the musicians what they're worth: they have real estate dreams. Ya know, the musicians are what the orchestra is all about! These plans cannot be executed on the backs of the musicians.

But...let's get back to arts patron and composer Gordon Getty, who made major contributions to the first Davies renovation. In the last year or so, he has sold off hundreds of millions of dollars of art and objects that he and his late wife collected over the years. Is it possible that any new hall will be named....Ann and Gordon Getty Hall?

And would the promise of a new hall and newly-renovated hall make it more likely that Salonen would extend his contract?

Huge thanks to reader Josh Williams, who called this story to my attention in blog comments elsewhere.

Update: I've made a few minor updates, including improving the formatting, correcting the original cost of Davies to $28 million, correcting the spelling of Ann Getty, and correcting the number of recital halls.


Friday Photo

Nose of an exceptionally pretty 1950s Beechcraft
Livermore, CA
September, 2023


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

San Francisco Opera Opening Concert

Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna
SFO opening night concert
Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Starting in 2021, San Francisco Opera switched from programming an opera for opening night to programming a concert. The last two years were great; 2021 featured the dynamic duo of Rachel Willis-Sørensen and Jamie Barton in a richly varied and delightful program; last year featured a bunch of different singers doing their thing, mostly marvelously. This year, we got returning soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and, in what Matthew Shilvock termed "a long overdue debut", Kurzak's husband, tenor Roberto Alagna.

Alagna, you might or might not know, has been making headlines since the mid-1990s: the tragedy of his first wife's early death, leaving him a widower with a small daughter; his romance with soprano Angela Gheorghiu and their marriage on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera house, with officiant Rudy Giuliani, back in the days when Giuliani was hated for fewer reasons than now; the tempestuous Alagna/Gheorghiu marriage and eventual divorce; some on-stage mishaps and booing, and on and on.

There were rumors for years about when he might finally appear at SFO, and here we are, in 2023, and we finally got an in-person look at him. And what I saw, and heard, was not great. The tenor is now 60; he was a lyric tenor with a lovely voice to start, but along the way he decided to take on heavy roles. (Here he is in 1997 singing "Una furtiva lagrima" from L'Elisir d'Amore.) His age and those heavier roles have taken their toll, and, well: during most of the first half of the program his volume was set at "too loud." Eventually, he was warmed up enough to sing at lower volume levels, but still, there's audible wear on his voice and an encroaching wobble. Overdue is right; too bad he and Gheorghiu never sang, say, La Traviata back in the day. I'm sure they sounded great together.

And actually, in his prime, he and Kurzak would have sounded great together. She was last here in 2012 as Gilda in Rigoletto, and wow, she's a terrific singer who has it all: a very beautiful and distinctive voice, flawless technique, great style. She was wonderful in everything she, and they, sang. Kudos also to Adler Fellow soprano Olivia Smith, who sounded great in about 90 seconds on stage as Lola in Cav.

Oh, besides Alana's current vocal state, the other disappointment was the program itself, which consisted of verismo standards (Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Tosca), a bit of Saint-Säens, and some songs. It was kinda dull, particularly compared to the musical variety of the last two openings.

  • Joshua Kosman, Chronicle, reports on the occasion as much as on the performances. "Blunt" is a good description of how Alagna was interpretively. And yeah, dramatically things weren't all there for either singer; maybe they've done this show a million times (concerts pay better and require less rehearsal time than opera) or maybe more rehearsal time would have been good.


Monday, September 18, 2023

San Francico Symphony Radio Broadcast: Time Change

Davies Symphony Hall
Home of San Francisco Symphony
Photo by Lisa Hirsch


This can't be good news: the SFS concert broadcasts on KDFC are moving from Tuesday nights, where they've been since 1994, to Sunday nights. I feel like that's where broadcasts go to die; nobody will listen, so eventually there will be a reason to eliminate them completely. One example: KDFC used to broadcast San Francisco Opera performances, albeit on a delay, but these eventually gave way to a monthly "conversation," one hour long, between Matthew Shilvock and Bill Leuth.

Let me also note that I wasn't happy that somehow the Busoni piano concerto concert from June, 2023, wasn't broadcast. HOW OFTEN WILL WE GET TO HEAR IT????

The press release is after the jump.

San Francisco Symphony Personnel Changes

Well, there's a ton going on; I have a number of appointments and a couple of departures to report on. Look for an article in SFCV a week from tomorrow with full details.

Museum Mondays


Bay Area Victorian, Bay Area Deco, Bay Area Funk 1982

Joyce Kozloff

San Francisco International Airport
July, 2023

Belated Friday Photo

Residential street, Santa Fe, NM
August, 2023


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

California Symphony: Copland - American Traditions


Left: A multi-award-winning violinist and entrepreneur, Kelly Hall-Tompkins is the founder of Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, a pioneer social justice organization that presents professional artists in performance in homeless shelters across the U.S. (photo: R. Gregory Routt)  Center: California Symphony’s Artistic and Music Director, Donato Cabrera (photo: Kristen Loken)  (Right: Juan Pablo Contreras (photo: Jorge Kick)

California Symphony has a good-looking program coming up on Saturday, September 30, and Sunday, October 1:

WHAT: California Symphony, under the artistic direction of Donato Cabrera, launches its 2023-24 season with Copland—American Traditions. From a Shaker hymn to the blues, jazz, folk music, and the sounds of a mariachi band, this program celebrates the cultural influences that have shaped the American story, with music by Aaron Copland, Wynton Marsalis, and more. Included with ticket purchase is a free 30-minute pre-concert talk, starting one hour before each show. 

WHEN: Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 1, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Hofmann Theatre at the Lesher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

7:30pm, Saturday, Sept. 30
4:00pm, Sunday, Oct. 1
Donato Cabrera, conductor
California Symphony
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin

Juan Pablo Contreras—MeChicano 
Wynton Marsalis—Violin Concerto in D
   Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Ruth Crawford Seeger—Rissolty Rossolty
Aaron Copland— Appalachian Spring Suite

TICKETS: Subscriptions for three, four, or five concerts start at $99 and are available now.
Single tickets are $45-90 and $20 (for students 25 and under with valid Student ID). To purchase tickets, visit or call the Lesher Center Ticket Office at (925) 943-7469 (open Wed – Sun, noon to 6pm).  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Mark Almond to Chicago Symphony Orchestra

A press release from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brings the news that San Francisco Symphony's associate principal horn, Mark Almond, is the new principal horn of the CSO.

We still don't know the results of the June auditions for SFS principal horn or who will be playing trial weeks. Keep your eyes open for the first few weeks of the season.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Met Commission

Lincoln Center Fountain
Photo by Lisa Hirsch

Well, this will be interesting: an opera based on the current experiences of mothers in Ukraine. It is difficult to write a persuasive opera about an event when you're chronologically still very close to that event.

It's interesting to see the Met practically crowing about their New Works Program, which has managed to get four works on stage (I think, from the information below) since its inception in 2006; that's 17 years ago. There are some other works under development, and perhaps they'll manage to get more than one work every four years on stage. 



New York, NY (September 11, 2023)As part of its ongoing support of Ukraine, the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program announced today the commissioning of a new work by Ukrainian composer Maxim Kolomiiets and librettist George Brant. The story for the opera will be based on the true events of Ukrainian mothers who embarked on an arduous 3,000-mile journey behind enemy lines into Russia to rescue their children forcibly detained there by Russian authorities. Although the characters in the opera will be largely fictional, the story is based on true events on the ground in Ukraine and in the Hague, where Vladimir Putin and Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova were accused of war crimes for the abduction of the children. Faced with these accusations, Lvova-Belova announced that the mothers would have six months to find their children and reclaim them or lose them forever as wards of the Russian state.


Composer Maxim Kolomiiets has built a career both as a composer and as an oboist, having written solo instrumental, chamber, and orchestral pieces. He has written two operas—Espenbaum, which has been performed in a concert version, and Night, excerpts of which were premiered in August 2020 in the Recording House of Ukrainian Radio, performed by the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra—and his music has been performed at international festivals, including the MATA Festival (New York), Darmstädter Ferienkurse  (Darmstadt), New Talents (Cologne), Donaueschinge Musiktage, (Donaueschingen), Warsaw Autumn (Warsaw), and Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival (New York), among others.


This will mark the second Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program commission for American playwright and librettist George Brant. He has written numerous plays, including Grounded, which was developed as an opera through the program with composer Jeanine Tesori before being given a full commission by the Met. Grounded is scheduled to premiere at Washington National Opera on October 28, 2023, ahead of its Met premiere in fall 2024.


“We’re proud to continue to support Ukraine on the cultural front. The heroism of these Ukrainian mothers in the face of Russian atrocities is a story that should be amplified theatrically and is in the good creative hands of Maxim and George,” said Peter Gelb, the Metropolitan Opera’s Maria Manetti Shrem General Manager.


“Lincoln Center Theater is honored to be part of this commission, and we look forward to a beautiful opera,” said André Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater.


The idea to commission a Ukrainian composer was born in a meeting last fall between Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, and Gelb during her visit to the Metropolitan Opera. Following that meeting, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture invited composers to apply and received applications from 72 Ukrainian composers. The applications were vetted by the Met’s team, led by Paul Cremo, Director of Opera Commissioning Programs.  


The addition of this new Kolomiiets/Brant commission is part of the Met’s ongoing commitment to enriching the repertory through programming new commissions and contemporary masterpieces. The 2023­–24 season, opening September 26 with Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, features more contemporary work than any other season in modern Met history.

For more information about the Met season and the Met/LCT New Works Program, visit


The Met/LCT New Works Program

The Met/LCT New Works Program, founded in 2006, has provided developmental resources for many composers and librettists. The program has overseen the creation of several new operas, including Two Boys, composed by Nico Muhly with a libretto by Craig Lucas; Eurydice, composed by Matthew Aucoin with a libretto by Sarah Ruhl, based on her play; and Grounded, composed by Jeanine Tesori with a libretto by George Brant, based on his play—all three produced by the Met. Intimate Apparel, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Lynn Nottage, based on her play, was produced by Lincoln Center Theater. Other projects in development include new works by Joshua Schmidt and Dick Scanlan; David. T. Little and Royce Vavrek; Carlos Simon and Lynn Nottage / Ruby Aiyo Gerber; and Valerie Coleman, Jessie Montgomery, and Joel Thompson.


The Met/LCT New Works Program is funded by a generous gift to the Met from the Francis Goelet Charitable Trusts, with additional support from Linda Hirshman.


Biographies of Composer and Librettist

Composer Maxim Kolomiiets was born in 1981 in Kyiv, Ukraine. He graduated from the National Music Academy of Ukraine as an oboist and then as a composer, and from the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln as a composer. He has built a career both as a composer and as an oboist, having written solo instrumental, chamber, and orchestral pieces. He has written two operas—Espenbaum, which has been performed in a concert version, and Night, excerpts of which were premiered in August 2020 in the Recording House of Ukrainian Radio, performed by the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra—and his music has been performed at international festivals, including the MATA Festival (New York), Darmstädter Ferienkurse  (Darmstadt), New Talents (Cologne), Donaueschinge Musiktage, (Donaueschingen), Warsaw Autumn (Warsaw), and Ukrainian Contemporary Music Festival (New York), among others. He is also the co-founder of the contemporary music ensemble Ensemble Nostri Temporis, the founder of the Baroque ensemble Luna Ensemble, and music curator at the Gogolfest (Kyiv). He currently lives in Germany.


American playwright and librettist George Brant has written numerous plays, including Grounded, which was developed into an opera through the Met/LCT New Works Program with composer Jeanine Tesori before being given a full commission by the Met. Grounded is scheduled to premiere at Washington National Opera on October 28, 2023, ahead of its Met premiere in fall 2024. Other works include Marie and Rosetta, Into the Breeches!, The Prince of Providence, Elephant’s Graveyard, The Land of Oz, Tender Age, and The Mourners’ Bench. His work has been produced internationally by such companies as the Public Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Cleveland Play House, Studio Theatre, Page 73, London’s Gate Theatre, and Traverse Theatre. His scripts have been awarded a Lucille Lortel Award, Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, Scotsman Fringe First Award, Off West End Theatre Award for Best Production, NNPN Rolling World Premiere, the Smith Prize, and the Keene Prize for Literature.


In Memory

Twin Towers United Methodist Church
Alameda, CA


Museum Mondays

Various items related to 19th c. surgery
Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett, London
November, 2019


Friday, September 08, 2023

San Francisco Opera Says the Quiet Part Out Loud

Vintage Post Card of the 
War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building
San Francisco, CA
Collection of Lisa Hirsch

Should an opera company admit publicly that the most expensive seats in the house don't have the best sound? Maybe, maybe not, but San Francisco Opera just did it, by omission, in their email to patrons about the new season, which opens tonight:


Where you sit in the Opera House can affect your experience! Want the best sound? We recommend the Grand Tier, Dress Circle, or even Balcony seats! Ready for the best views of the stage? Try out the Orchestra for an up close and personal experience.

The story is really more nuanced than that; I have found the orchestral sound absolutely gorgeous in about row M or so of the orchestra section (but fond memories of finding soprano Christine Goerke a little recessed from the orchestra, and she is definitely loud). Not to mention, the orchestra section is very big and you can be very far from the stage if you sit there!

And I've also found the sound in the back of the balcony extremely immediate (the singers sound as though they are ten feet away) but also a little harsh and blarey. Definitely don't sit near the walls in the Grand Tier and Dress Circle!

That said, you can stream tonight's open concert, with Roberto Alagna and Alexandra Kurzak. Details are on the SFO web site.

Adès (and His Program) are Out at SFS

Well, this is a bummer: Thomas Adès has withdrawn from his scheduled San Francisco Symphony programs. One was conducting the orchestra in an unusually tasty program, the other was a SoundBox appearance. The symphony program was this:

  • Nørgård, Symphony No. 2
  • Adès, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Kirill Gerstein
  • Sibelius, Symphony No. 4,
Gerstein is also off the program.

Here's the reason:

Adès’s opera The Exterminating Angel will be presented at the Paris Opera in February 2024, and he respectfully asked the San Francisco Symphony to be released from his upcoming Symphony programs to revise the piece and conduct this new production. 



Friday Photo

Plaza in Bayreuth
August, 2015
What caught my eye were the stick figures climbing the building. 


Monday, September 04, 2023

Where's Runnicles Going?


Donald Runnicles
Photo: Simon Pauly / Courtesy of San Francisco Opera

News you can use: Donald Runnicles will be stepping down a year early from his position as music director of Deutsche Oper Berlin, at the end of the 2025-26 seasons. He has held that position since 2009, when he left San Francisco Opera.

The reason cited is "family reasons," with no further details that I can find. That's an interesting reason: he has a daughter born in the 1980s when he was on the staff at Mannheim Opera; he has two daughters born in the 1990s when he was married to violist Elizabeth Prior. These children are all young adults who are very likely out of college by now. His wife Adelle Eslinger has two children from a previous marriage and I believe that they're also likely to be in their 20s.

So, what might be the professional reasons for Runnicles to relocate to the U.S.? Well, let's consider the jobs he has held in the last thirty years.
  • San Francisco Opera, Music Director
  • Grand Teton Music Festival, Music Director
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor
  • BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Music Director
  • Deutsch Oper Berlin, Music Director
So, there are family reasons and perhaps there's a new job awaiting him. Grand Teton is a good position, but that job and guest conducting in the US won't come close to filling the calendar of a conductor who has run two major opera houses and an orchestra. Let's think about the jobs that are out there right now or might be out there in a few years.
  • Seattle Symphony still doesn't have a music director and their executive director someone most candidates won't want to work with.
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Muti's departure has been public knowledge for years, but they haven't announced an appointment yet. I've heard rumors of Klaus Mäkelä, because sure, every young conductor should have three orchestral appointments.
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic. Is it possible that Runnicles misses that California sunshine? It seems unlikely that a deal could have been made with Runnicles so soon after the announcement of Gustavo Dudamel's departure for NY, and the LA Phil appears to be having some administrative chaos just now. Who knows what might happen there.
  • San Francisco Symphony. Esa-Pekka Salonen's contract has two more years to run, through the end of 2024-25. I sincerely hope that he signs on for another five, but who knows? Between the pandemic and the orchestra rebuilding that he's had to do, this is not exactly what he would have expected in 2018.

Museum Mondays

Detail, Saint Lucy
Josse Lieferinxe, c. 1500
Musée du Louvre, Paris
February, 2019